Should You Have a Personal Brand Website?

Even if you don't run your own business, it pays to market yourself online.

Jim Carrey homepage, the mother of all homepages.

Even if you don’t run your own business, it pays to market yourself online.

It seems like everybody and their dog has a personal website these days, or wants one. My Facebook inbox consists mainly of messages from people I’ve met who are looking to set one up for themselves. But a “personal homepage” can mean a lot of different things to different people, from a simple blog to a full-fledged interactive experience.

As a small-business owner, having a corporate site is essential, but there have been times when I’ve wanted my own digital “corner office” as well, where I can foster closer business relationships and establish my personal credibility (as opposed to that of my business). Depending on your own line of work, a personal site is not just a nice-to-have, it’s a need-to-have.

Who has one?

Freelancers. Consultants. Small-business owners. Speakers. Actors. Musicians. Celebrities. Basically anyone who trades on their own name or values having a strong online presence. As a result, some personal sites are all business, and some are pure vanity, but most fall somewhere in between.

Some of my favourite examples include Frank Chimero, Chris McGuire, Jason Zimdars, and Jim Carrey – the mother of them all!

Where can I get one?

While  there are a  lot of easy-to-use blogging platforms out there, such as Blogger, Tumblr, and  Posterous, WordPress is what I usually recommend. It’s the most popular and best supported technology, and offers you the option of creating a simple blog or a complete site, and it’s easy to migrate from one to the other if you decide to start small then go big later. WordPress also gives you the option of doing it yourself or hiring a professional to do it for you.

Carefully executed, a personal brand site is more than just a vanity piece. It is a subtle marketing tool that can help you find new leads and new opportunities, and help you manifest your goals. It’s also great for search engine optimization: for better or worse, you will dominate search results for your name. So the question is, how much do you value standing out on the Web?